Large-Scale Biodiversity Experiments

Forest Isbell, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Biodiversity experiments are designed to identify how ecosystem functioning is affected by changes in diversity that can occur due to the decline, extinction, or invasion of species. Biodiversity experiments are a complement to theoretical and observational studies. There are two main ways to manipulate biodiversity: through the removal of species or by the assembly of experimental ecosystems of varying diversities. The latter allows comprehensive exploration of many possible combinations of species, some of which may be realized in the future. After three decades, more than 370 biodiversity experiments have been conducted. Results have been surprisingly consistent and indicate that biodiversity loss is causing substantial losses of ecosystem functioning, stability, and services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biodiversity, Third Edition
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1-7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128225622
ISBN (Print)9780323984348
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Biodiversity
  • Complementarity effect
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem stability
  • Experiment
  • Functional groups
  • Productivity
  • Selection effect
  • Yield


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